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Our Story


Our name represents our deeply rooted belief that young people can change the world.

The name Darren Patterson Christian Academy is an important part of our school's culture as it represents our deeply rooted belief that young people can change the world.

One little boy's dream paved the way for hundreds of kids to experience more than just a school, but a place where they are known, loved, and believed in. We see students as powerful agents of change, capable of using the knowledge, skills, and character that they develop here to go out and change their communities and our world.

We proudly share Darren's story to acknowledge purpose in the face of pain and to inspire students to be world changers. 

So, who is Darren Patterson? He was a 14 year old boy who was killed by a drunk driver in a car accident on Thanksgiving day in 1981... however tragic, the story didn't end there. This one little boy continues to impact the lives of hundreds of kids in our community, past and present. 

Darren grew up in Buena Vista and expressed a strong desire to attend a Christian school. He asked his parents if he could, but there were none in the area at the time.  After his death, the people who loved him most decided to honor his strong desire by starting a Christian school to serve Chaffee County students. Family and friends banded together to create an endowment fund, but when DPCA opened its doors one year later and invited the 1,500 residents in Buena Vista to consider a Christ-centered education for their students, most people said that the school would never be able to make it. There simply were not enough students in the community to fill up multiple schools. 


By 1996 the school had outgrown the church facility that it was renting and so a collection of many generous, hardworking families and contractors came together to build a beautiful, new facility to house the growing student body. In 2007 this facility was tripled in size and expanded to include an additional wing of classrooms, gymnasium, and cafetorium space.


Here we are 35+ years later with a healthy number of students and tremendous support from our local community that enables our school to thrive. Without Darren's desire, families living in Buena Vista and the surrounding area would not have had the option of choosing a joyful, rigorous, Christ-centered education. 

Christian Expeditionary Learning


As Christian educators in the 21st century, we believe that our students must be courageous

agents for good in our world - active doers of the Word, not passive hearers only.


Our intent is to educate the whole person... to shape good people with the intellect, skills, character, healthy habits, and faith to live fulfilled, mission-driven lives that glorify God.


We envision an education for our students that is hands on, in order to form and inform students who have the character and skills to creatively and compassionately contribute to the world around them, as they act from an authentic faith.

To support this vision, we pair Christian curriculum with Expeditionary Learning (EL) teaching methods. EL is all about pairing academics with adventures in order to create unforgettable learning experiences aimed at challenging student’s intellect and imagination. It is an academic model that is project-based, community-minded, and engaging for a wide variety of learning styles. It promotes “doing” not just “hearing” by challenging students to become leaders of their learning through taking active roles in their classrooms and communities. 

-James 1:22


These expeditions connect learning to real life and allow students to practice using their knowledge & skills to serve others. Once a year, each class engages in a 5-7 week long interdisciplinary, project based study that culminates in a final product that benefits our local community. Fieldwork, teaching by local experts, revision, presenting to authentic audiences, and emphasis on high quality work are all hallmarks of these expeditions.  


Cultural Expeditions take field trips to the next level by seamlessly integrating academic components to add value to time spent learning beyond the classroom. We believe learning should be joyful & fun, and so we regularly take students beyond the building to experience life beyond our small town. Spending the night at the Museum of Science in Denver, attending Symphony performances, visiting National Parks, etc. 


Outdoor Expeditions such as rock climbing, backpacking, xc skiing, snow shoeing, and hiking allow students to take their learning beyond the classroom and develop confidence, communication, and teamwork skills. Students choose their own level of challenge on these unforgettable adventures that are accessible for all skill levels. Technical outdoor skills are taught and spiritual formation is emphasized.


Crews are adult-led, small groups of students that meet every morning to foster character growth and healthy relationships amongst students through team building activities and guided conversations. This time is a chance to have fun together and allow kids to connect and be known before jumping into academics. Crew Families also sit together at assemblies and serve as advocates and mentors for one another in the larger school community. 

The following beliefs guide the decisions of our school leadership and lives of our staff. While the culture, curriculum, and staff of DPCA is distinctly Christian, we welcome students of all faiths to be part of our learning community.
  • We believe in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as verbally inspired of God and inerrant in the original writings, and that they are of supreme and final authority in faith and life.
    [II Timothy 3:16-17; II Peter 1:21; Romans 15:4; Isaiah 8:20; Matthew 24:35].


  • We believe in one living and true God, eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, equal in every divine perfection. [Deuteronomy 6:4; John 1:1-14; Romans 9:5; Matthew 28:19; John 4:24].

  • We believe that Jesus Christ was begotten by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, and is true God and true man . [Luke 1:26-35; John 1:1-14; John 10:30; Philippians 2:5-8; I Timothy 2:5; Colossians 1:15-19]. 

  • We believe that man was created in the image of God; that he sinned and thereby incurred not only physical death but also that spiritual death which is separation from God; and that all human beings are born with a sinful nature, and in the case of those who reach moral responsibility, become sinners in thought, word, and deed. [Genesis 1:27-31; Genesis 2:16-17; Romans 5:12; Psalms 51:5; Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10-18; Ephesians 2:1]. 

  • We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures as a representative and substitutionary sacrifice; and that all who believe in Him are justified on the ground of His shed blood.
    [Matthew 26:28; I Timothy 2:5; I Peter 1:18-19; I Corinthians 15:3-4; II Corinthians 5:21; John 3:16; John 3:36; Romans 3:24-28]. 


  • We believe in the resurrection of the crucified body of our Lord, in His ascension into heaven, and in His present life there for us, as High Priest and Advocate.
    [I Corinthians 15:14-17; Matthew 28:6; Acts 1:10-11;Hebrews 4:14-15; Romans 8:34; I John 2:1]. 


  • We believe in "That Blessed Hope", the personal return of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
    [Titus 2:13; Acts 1:11; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 19:11-16]. 


  • We believe that all who receive by faith the Lord Jesus Christ are born of the Holy Spirit and thereby become children of God. [John 16:7-11; Romans :9; Titus 3:5; John 3:5-8; John 14:16-17]. 

  • We believe that Satan is a spiritual personality, the enemy of God and man, who seeks unlawful dominion through the overthrow of God's beneficent rule. [Genesis 3:1-4; John 8:44; Ephesians 2:2; I Peter 5:8]. 

  • We believe in the bodily resurrection of the just and the unjust, the everlasting blessedness of the saved, and the everlasting, conscious punishment of the lost.
    [John 5:28-29; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; Philippians 3:20-21; I John 3:2; Revelation 20:11-15; Revelation 21:4-27]. 


  • We believe in the Church, the invisible body of Christ, of which all believers are members.
    [I Corinthians 12:12- 13; Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:22-23].

Statemen of Faith
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